At the end of the Tadpole Trail was the Cottonwood Craft Cabin. The craft cabin was home to one of the best parts of summer camp, which was making leather keychains and bookmarks at summer camp. The multi-step process started with choosing one of the pre-cut pieces of leather that would be designed and personalized. The first step was preparing the leather with a little water. Next was choosing the stamps to use to create the perfect design, which might require patiently waiting your turn for the letters. Kids whose names had unusual spellings like Emilee and Rianne could finally have a personalized item they could never buy in a store. Perhaps the most magical part of the process was painting on the clear resistance coating that would keep the painted parts free from stain. The messiest step was the stain. For a moment, you thought your design was ruined, but then you magically wiped off the stain from the resistance area and only the parts you wanted stained were a little darker, a little richer. And that little leather keychain or bookmark from camp was a reminder all year as you used it for your keys or to mark a place in your book of that magical summer camp.
But grownups have more sophisticated tastes and fine leather goods are one way to always show a little bit of that style. Of course there are a lot of differences between the leather you used at camp and the leather you would find today in a finely crafted leather briefcases, leather backpacks, leather belts or leather wallets. The highest class of leather are top grain and full grain, which would not have been found in the Cottonwood Craft Cabin of your youth. Other classes of leather include corrected grain and split leather. Here is a short explanation of the differences between these types.
Leather is a Practical Choice
It may surprise you to learn that the average person is wearing an average of 4 leather products at any one time. What makes leather a practical choice is is its durability. If properly cared for, leather can last a lifetime. Preserving your fine leather means keeping it out of plastic bags and allowing it to breathe. Lengthy exposure to low humidity (below 40%) can damage leather by changing its very fibers.
Leather is a Stylish Choice
A high quality leather item almost never goes out of style. Some famous icons such as General Patton with his famous aviator jacket and James Dean with his black jacket set leather trends of the time that remain today. Even in 2016, celebrity Chloe Moretz modeled and accessorized with leather goods for Coach’s spring line. She may have even been styling a small leather keychain in that Coach purse.
Caring for Fine Leather
Cleaning and caring for your fine leather is not a hard as it sounds if you follow a few simple steps and avoid certain products, which can do more harm than good.
- First use a damp cloth to remove any obvious dirt and debris
- Next, apply a special conditioner that does not include mineral oils
- Finally, allow to air dry. Never blow dry or drape a leather item over a heat source
So whether you’re wearing and caring for a family heirloom jacket or you’re sporting your own brand new jacket or leather accessory, following a few simple guidelines will keep your garment or accessory looking stylish for years. Keep in mind that leather is susceptible to absorbing grease and oils. Keep hand creams out of your purse. Watch where you’re setting your briefcase or satchel down. Also avoid spraying hair spray around your fine leather.
While you may have outgrown the simple leather keychain from camp, you can still enjoy the touch and feel of a fine leather wallet, purse or satchel and be reminded of how nice it is to have some of the finer things in life. And if you’re careful, you can hand down a timeless jacket or briefcase or satchel to your own children.